The Rarities Night Catalog

As you read these words the Stack’s Bowers Galleries “Rarities Night” catalog is either in your hands if you are a client or, otherwise, available with our compliments on the Internet. In some ways the Internet is even better, as state-of-the-art technology makes it possible to present photographs with a sharpness that cannot be equaled with even the finest printing processes.

Rarities Night draws upon a long-time tradition, dating back to our Rarities Sales a decade or more ago, with a nod to the even earlier “Apostrophe” sales conducted beginning in the 1970s, with Stack’s being a participant. The idea is to have a special event in which scarce and rare items come together for a notable offering, perhaps the numismatic equivalent of the Concours d’Elegance of classic cars. This year Rarities Night will be held on Thursday evening, August 9. Crossing the block will be several hundred scarcities and rarities, each of which is memorable in its own right and some of which are incredible landmarks.

Perhaps capturing the most attention will be the Battle Born Collection formed over a long period of years by a Nevada connoisseur who worked with our colleague Rusty Goe in forming a display that eventually was absolutely complete, as defined by having the unique 1873-CC No Arrows dime. This particular 10-cent piece is an old friend to me, as I had the honor of cataloging it in 1996 as part of the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection auction. Before that it last changed hands in November 1950 when Mr. Eliasberg acquired it, completing his collection which at that time was absolutely complete from the 1793 half cent to the 1933 double eagle. In addition, if you recall our illustrious series of Eliasberg Collection sales (which extended from 1982 until just a few years ago), this magnificent holding also included memorable colonial and early American coins, patterns, territorial gold, and many other treasures. The Battle Born Collection not only is complete but also is of an average grade quality that has never been even remotely approached by any other gathering. Mint State is the operating description, with any others, few in number, being high grade circulated examples with mint luster, Condition Census all along the way. Incidentally, the name “Battle Born” is derived from Nevada achieving its statehood in 1864 during the Civil War (although hostilities never extended to that territory).

The Hoosier Flyer Collection, showcased in our Rarities Night sale, brings to the fore an incredible collection of small-size pattern cents from 1850 through later in the decade, illustrating the steps by which the Philadelphia Mint endeavored to replace the large and cumbersome copper cent, which was becoming increasingly expensive to produce, with a lighter version. Scarcities and rarities abound, highlighted by a superb Gem 1856 Flying Eagle cent, technically a pattern but adopted into the regular series by just about everyone – due to its listing among regular issues in the Guide Book of United States Coins, and elsewhere. Wait, there is more! The Hoosier Flyer Collection also includes regular issue small cents of 1857 and 1858, including gorgeous Proofs (each of which is considerably rarer than the 1856), Mint State pieces as well (including the elusive 1858/7 overdate) and, for good measure, the seldom seen and quite mysterious 1857 Flying Eagle cents with clashed dies from other denominations.

As you browse through the listing you will find many other incredible coins – rarities in all series. Numismatic Americana includes classic 1783 Libertas Americana medals (voted number one in the best-selling Whitman book, The 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens), colonial issues, and regulated gold. Next comes the federal series from half cents onward, including many “type” coins, Condition Census, and other treasures. Copper coins of 1793, rare and always popular, are there for your consideration, a very nice collection of 1796-dated rarities in copper, silver and gold will attract attention, not to overlook a memorable offering of gold quarter eagles, half eagles, and eagles dated before 1834. Charlotte and Dahlonega gold coins include many of a quality seldom seen. Proofs range from copper through silver to a very impressive selection of gold – “dream coins” in many instances.

Commemorative coins in silver and gold will please the most discriminating of connoisseurs. California Gold Rush items, each with its own story, are highlighted by the famous and unique Harris & Marchand gold bar from the Marysville, California office – a highlight from the fabulous S.S. Central America treasure.

While many Rarities Night coins are necessarily expensive – the stuff for museums, advanced collectors, and those building Registry Sets – I hasten to say that there are also many that will be affordable down into the low four figure range, keys in various series. Beyond what you may be interested in acquiring for your own account, I hope you will read the descriptions carefully as there is quite a bit of interesting background information, numismatic details, and other narrative that I am sure you will enjoy reading.

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